If you’ve been injured by a car or other vehicle as a pedestrian in Florida, a few different factors will determine if you can receive compensation and if so, how much. Part of the determination may be based on whether you contributed to causing the accident. But you may be able to recover for your medical bills and other expenses regardless of your fault.
Pedestrian accidents have been on the rise in recent years, especially here in Florida. In fact, Florida is one of the five states that account for half the pedestrian deaths in the U.S., according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association. Pedestrians include not only people on foot but also skaters, skateboarders, bicyclists and riders of scooters, mopeds and Segways.
Florida is a no-fault state, so when a car accident occurs, each party’s auto insurance initially pays out for medical bills and other losses and expenses up to the limits of their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If you or a member of your household have auto insurance, the PIP coverage will pay for your injuries as a pedestrian. If not, you can claim against the PIP coverage of the driver of any vehicle involved in the accident, regardless of who was at fault.
However, if your injuries are serious and your medical bills and related expenses exceed the limits of all available PIP coverage, you may need to bring a personal injury lawsuit against a driver. It is here that the question of fault becomes important.
Pedestrians may think they always have the right of way, but in fact they can be partly or even wholly to blame in an accident, depending on the circumstances. Assigning the degree of blame in a pedestrian accident is a complex determination that takes into account factors like location, speed limits, road conditions and information drawn from police reports and witnesses’ testimony.
Florida follows the doctrine of comparative fault, which distributes damages based on each party’s negligence in causing an accident. For example, let’s suppose a pedestrian who was jaywalking while drunk suffers serious injuries when he is hit by a car whose driver was texting at the time. If the pedestrian is found to be 40 percent at fault, he will see his recovery reduced in proportion. So if his provable damages are $100,000, he would receive $60,000.
On the plus side, in contrast to some states that bar recovery by an injured party who is more than 50 percent responsible, Florida allows partial recovery regardless of the pedestrian’s degree of fault.
Largely Law Firm has over 27 years of experience representing victims of pedestrian-vehicle accidents. If you’ve been injured as a pedestrian in Central Florida, contact us online to schedule a free consultation.